Heritage Tours:

Search for a tour by category:

Search site:

string(50) ""

Fort Steilacoom Park

Fort Steilacoom was the first U.S. Army post on Puget Sound. It was established in 1849 and was closed in 1868. The name is from Steilacoom. Four buildings from the fort have been restored. For much of the time during its operating years it was the center of U.S. Military activity in western Washington.

The Western State Hospital with attractive grounds and buildings, occupies the site directly adjacent old Fort Steilacoom buildings. .

Western State Hospital is one of two state-owned psychiatric hospitals for adults. Public access to the hospital grounds is restricted, but the park across the road provides multiple trails to explore the history and development of the site, in particular its agricultural history.

On the hospital grounds are four residences constructed for the officers of Fort Steilacoom between 1855 and 1858. One was occupied by General Philip E. Sheridan, Civil War hero.

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Fort Steilacoom

Beginning with its construction by the U. S. Army in 1849, Fort Steilacoom was among the first military fortifications built by the U.S. north of the Columbia River. The fort closed in 1868, Fort Steilacoom served as a beacon of American power and promise, promoting the migration of settlers to Washington & securing American interest in the region. Located in the south Puget Sound, Fort Steilacoom was a part of an early network of settlements including Forts, Camps and Military Posts which were owned by either the United States or the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Western State Hospital

The facility was established in Washington Territory as Fort Steilacoom Asylum in 1871, predating statehood by almost 20 years, in former buildings of Fort Steilacoom, which was a U.S. Army post from 1849 to 1868. In 1875, the territorial government took control due to complaints about patient neglect, brutal abuse and poor living conditions. The original buildings of the asylum were demolished in 1886 to make way for a larger structure. It was renamed Western Washington Hospital for the Insane and the main ward was completed in 1887. In each of the following decades numerous out-buildings were constructed. In 1915, it was renamed Western State Hospital and grew in various stages.